Guidance on Executive Compensation Reporting Released

HUD recently issued Notice PIH-2019-21 (HA) providing additional information on calendar year (CY) 2018 executive compensation reporting. The Notice specifically instructs PHAs on how to use the HUD-52725 Form that reports executive compensation for CY 2018. The form will be available to PHAs through October 18, 2019. The requirements apply to all PHAs that administer a public housing or Section 8 program, including PHAs that have  converted their entire public housing portfolio through RAD that still receive funding sourced from Section 8 or 9 of the US Housing Act of 1937.

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New Notice allows PHAs to use Tenant Protection Vouchers for Youth Aging out of Foster Care

In late July, HUD published a notice titled “Tenant Protection Vouchers for Foster Youth to Independence Initiative” [PIH 2019-20 (HA)]. This notice would allow PHAs that do not have a Family Unification Program (FUP), but that have a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, to request a tenant protection voucher to house a FUP-eligible youth.

Public Housing Agencies must receive a referral from a partnering Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA) to request the tenant protection voucher. While not required, HUD strongly encourages participation of a Continuum of Care (CoC). Requests may be as small as one voucher up to 25 vouchers per PHA for a fiscal year. The funding for this initiative is not from the Family Unification Program account, but from the tenant protection voucher account and is subject to the availability of funding in that account. These vouchers sunset after being used and are not to be project-based.

  • PHA Eligibility Requirements:
    • PHA must have an HCV Program;
    • PHA must not administer the Family Unification Program (FUP);
    • PHA must amend its administrative plan;
    • PHA must accept FUP-eligible youth;
      • FUP-eligible youth: Youth that have met the following criteria:
        • Attained at least 18 years of age and not more than 24 years of age;
        • Left foster care, or will leave foster care, within 90 days; and
        • Are homeless or are at risk of being homeless;
    • PHA must determine eligibility;
    • PHA must have a partnership with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA);
      • PCWA Roles and Responsibilities:
        • Must identify FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must have a system of prioritization;
        • Must provide written certification to PHA that youth is FUP-eligible; and
        • Must provide supportive services, including:
          • Basic life skills information (money management; meal preparation; and access to health care, etc.);
          • Counseling on compliance with rental lease requirements of the HCV program;
          • Providing reasonable assurances to rental property owners;
          • Job counseling; and
          • Educational and career advancement counseling;
      • PCWA Partnership Agreement (May take the form of a memorandum of understanding or letters of intent):
        • Must define FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must list supportive services and provide them for 36 months;
        • Must address PHA responsibilities;
        • Must address PCWA responsibilities; and
        • Must address Continuum of Care–if involved–responsibilities, including:
          • Integrating the referral process into the CoC’s coordinated entry process;
          • Identifying services; and
          • Making referrals of FUP-eligible youth to PCWAs.

The full notice may be found here.

FY19 Jobs Plus NOFA Out

HUD has released its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY 2019 Job Plus Grants. Applications must be submitted to HUD by October 1, 2019 via grants.gov. The Jobs Plus program develops “locally-based, job-driven approaches that increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement, technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public housing. ”

PHAs that operate one or more public housing projects may apply. PHAs that have received a Commitment to enter into a Housing Assistance Payment Contract (CHAP) through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) may apply for a grant for the project so long as said project has not yet received a RAD Conversion Commitment (RCC). PHAs that received a Jobs Plus program grant for FY15, FY16, FY17, or FY18 are not eligible for FY19 grants.

Applications are due by midnight ET, on October 1, 2019 via grants.gov.

House Approves Two-Year Budget Deal, Senate Vote Next Week

Congress last night moved closer to finalizing a budget deal that would raise spending caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 and suspend the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021. The deal raises domestic spending by $27 billion in FY 2020, which is a sizable increase, though less than the $88 billion sought by the House.

The bill was approved by the House by 284-149 and now goes to the Senate, which will vote next week. The President has expressed support for the deal and is expected to sign it.

This finally draws a close to one of the more short-sighted policies enacted by Congress in recent history: the Budget Control Act (BCA). Passed in the summer of 2011, the BCA was a complex attempt to deal with the nation’s debt by requiring Congress to form a “super committee” to cut spending by $1.2 trillion dollars. The failure of the super committee resulted in across the board spending cuts and the implementation of arbitrary, low spending limits through FY 2021. However, the spending limits were only adhered to for a couple years and Congress has since approved budget deals to increase spending beyond the caps.

What’s Next

The Senate has a lot of work to do to catch up to the House. This spring House appropriators passed 10 of 12 appropriations bills at $88 billion higher than current levels for both domestic and defense programs, despite the lack of agreement with the Senate.

One of the approved bills is a robust Transportation-HUD spending bill, details of which are available here (NAHRO members only).

The Senate chose not to begin appropriations work until a final deal is in place and they are expected to stay in Washington during the August recess to begin consideration of bills.

At this point it isn’t clear what path Congress is likely to take to finalize FY 2020, though there have been discussions of trying to move small packages of negotiated spending bills in September, similar to the strategy employed in the fall of FY 2019. There is a high likelihood that a continuing resolution will needed for at least part of the new fiscal year, as floor time in September is limited.

Long-Term Impact

The two-year deal allows for $27 billion in additional spending in FY 2020, but only increases spending by $2 billion in FY 2021. This will pose a challenge for appropriators as the year to year cost increases of programs are typically higher than $2 billion. In FY 2020, it’s estimated that the cost of rental assistance programs at HUD will increase by $1 billion. This cost increase is compounded by lowered FHA contributions to the THUD budget.

Advocacy

Your advocacy will be critical to ensuring that THUD is a high priority for lawmakers- download the new NAHRO Advocacy App (members-only) and watch for news on how to participate in NAHRO’s August Advocacy campaign.

“Housing Search and Leasing” Chapter of HUD HCV Guidebook Published

The Department has published another chapter of the HCV Guidebook. The new chapter is titled “Housing Search and Leasing.”

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials remains pleased that–at our urging–HUD is updating their guidebooks. We look forward to the completed, and regularly maintained, guidebook.

The new chapter can be found here.

The full guidebook can be found here.

HUD Posts Mainstream Voucher FY 2019 NOFA Webinar

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a webinar on its fiscal year 2019 Mainstream Voucher application.

Additionally, the Department has made the following Mainstream Voucher application materials available:

All of these materials may also be found on HUD’s Mainstream Voucher Program page.

Pre-Registration for NSPIRE Demonstration Opened

Yesterday, HUD opened a pre-registration for agencies interested in participating in the NSPIRE Demonstration. The NSPIRE demonstration will change the way that public housing agencies, owners, and agents (POAs) inspect public housing properties. HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) wants to ensure that public housing units are adequately maintained, so they are developing the NSPIRE protocol to emphasize regular upkeep and maintenance of units throughout the year, rather than immediately before inspections. NSPIRE scores will be advisory, and agencies will keep their current UPCS scores during their participation in the demonstration.

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HUD Publishes Study About Attracting Landlords to the Housing Choice Voucher Program

In February, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) continued exploring how to increase participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program with a paper by their Multidisciplinary Research Team titled “Landlord Participation Study.” The study found that the most common method for incentivizing landlord participation is increasing payment standards, though many of the methods described below are still relatively new. However, HUD believes that these landlord incentives may apply to rental housing markets across the country.

Conclusions about Rental Markets

The study was conducted in two parts: a quantitative analysis of administrative data and a qualitative set of interviews with nine innovative Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). The primary quantitative findings are as follows:

  • vouchers per landlord increased from 2010 to 2016, from 2.6 to 3.1;
  • the concentration of vouchers is increasing mainly in neighborhoods with higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and residents without high school degrees; and
  • the change in voucher concentration is unequal across states.

The qualitative interviews confirmed that three common hypotheses about why landlords decline to participate in HCV programs are financial concerns, administrative burdens, and negative perceptions of voucher tenants. These interviews revealed several key points about rental markets:

  • each PHA interviewed works in a competitive place to find housing;
  • PHAs frequently have to increase payment standards, the amount that they pay to landlords to assist tenants with vouchers;
  • tenants frequently need help with more than rent, such as searching for units and paying security deposits; and
  • supply and demand for housing can become unbalanced due to other local housing factors.

Why Landlords Do Not Participate

Staff identified three primary concerns when asked about the most important reason why landlords do not participate in the HCV program: five PHAs answered with financial or profitability considerations, 3 named concerns about the bureaucratic and administrative process, and one cited negative attitudes about voucher holders. Specifically, PHAs mentioned anecdotes similar to the following:

  • low payment standards sometimes made vouchers unprofitable for landlords;
  • fair market rents (FMRs) can adjust slowly to increasing rents;
  • money sometimes trumps the social mission to landlords;
  • neither the hassle of dealing with a bureaucracy nor concerns that PHAs do not value landlords’ time exist in the free market; and
  • stigmas about voucher-holders exist.

Incentives to Encourage Landlord Participation

Researchers asked staff from the nine PHAs selected for this study about what activities they have begun to overcome landlords’ concerns. First, in order to build confidence in the profitability of the HCV program, the most common approach has been increasing payment standards. Other frequent activities include:

  • helping tenants pay security deposits or negotiating other arrangements regarding damages;
  • offering bonuses to landlords for joining the program; and
  • making it easier to complete administrative steps and communicate with the PHA.

Second, the most common strategies for simplifying the bureaucracy for landlords involve altering inspection requirements to make the process easier and implementing landlord portals to facilitate communication and conduct business quickly. Staff also mentioned creating ways for landlords to inform PHAs about tenant compliance and making other processes like payment electronic or automatic.

Finally, PHAs offer an array of strategies to change negative views of tenants, most of which are based on strengthening ties between landlords and tenants through communication. The most evidence-based activity for overcoming negative stereotypes is the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s “Meet-and-Lease event” model, in which PHAs bring landlords and tenants together to facilitate lease-ups. PHAs have also implemented regular landlord communications, dedicated communication positions, and information campaigns.

This summary has been a brief overview of the “Landlord Participation Study.” The full paper contains more detailed lists of anecdotes and analysis and can be found here.

Celebrate Year 1 of the PH Smoke-Free Rule – Complimentary Webinar – July 18 @ 12:30pm ET

Join Clean Air For All, a joint effort between NAR-SAAH, NAHRO, and Live Smoke Free on Thursday, July 18 at 12:30pm eastern time, for a live discussion and Q&A on the “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing” final HUD rule. Participants will hear a brief update on the rule and will be able to submit questions to NAR-SAAH, NAHRO, and Live Smoke Free staff. Have your questions about the rule, cessation resources, and enforcement answered. These calls are intended for those working and living in affordable housing. Everyone is welcome to attend all of the calls and hear the various perspectives.

Registration for the webinar can be done at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6659582895810385675?source=NAHRO.

This month’s Connect Call is all about the anniversary of HUD’s smoke-free rule. We will discuss what is going well in smoke-free public housing and challenges PHAs face maintaining smoke-free policies. Participants will hear about ways to celebrate their PHA’s smoke-free policy, success stories, and how to find resources to improve compliance and enforcement.

At the end of the Connect Call, Clean Air for All will raffle off a Smoke-Free Public Housing Party in a Box to one lucky participant. The box contains everything a PHA needs to throw a smoke-free celebration for approximately 30 residents.

Smoke-Free Public Housing Party in a Box includes:
• Streamers, balloons, and 6 table covers
• 6 table tent decorations
• 30 magnetic clip giveaways
• Educational literature for residents
• Smoke-free housing bingo card game
• Gift certificate for 1 sheet cake from local bakery

Registration for the webinar can be done at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6659582895810385675?source=NAHRO